Last week at GDC, it was all about game physics. AGEIA finally announced that their PhysX hardware game physics chip was available to be purchased via gaming PC makers like Alienware, Falcon Northwest and Dell. Havok showed off their Havok FX software that works with graphics cards to increase physics. Even Sony during their pre-E3 press conference showed off some advanced physics during their PS3 game demos.
But what if you could get those kinds of interactions and effects on a regular PC or even on a PS2 and Xbox?
Developer BugBear did just that with FlatOut, their off-road rural racing game that was a surprise sleeper hit in 2005. Now BugBear is getting close to completing FlatOut 2 and once again it's targeting the PC, PS2, and Xbox. As FiringSquad got to see during a private demo of FlatOut 2 during GDC, you don't need a fancy new PC rig or a next-gen console to have tons of interaction in a game (indeed the demo of FlatOut 2 we saw ran on a laptop PC).
As we said, the original FlatOut was a surprise hit for BugBear along with its publishers Empire Interactive in Europe and VUGames in the US. According to what we were told during our demo, FlatOut has sold over 850,000 copies so far with well over half of those sold in the US. A sequel to the game was a no-brainer but rather than wait for next-gen hardware, BugBear decided to stick with the current generation stuff and instead optimize, optimize and optimize their graphics and physics engine programming. The result is a game that will look and act just as well as next-generation games in these areas.
The single player game has gotten a bit of a revamp for the sequel. The original simply had you driving through races against unnamed opponents, but for FlatOut 2 BugBear has actually created a number of different characters that will have their own driving styles. Having the single player game focus on trying to beat different characters, from tough babes to cowboy hat wearing guys certainly gives it a lot more variety. There will also be different types of cars to drive this time instead of a fleet of similar looking racers. Demolition derby cars along with street and racing cars will be a part of the mix this time for FlatOut 2 along with some secret rides that we won't mention here. Overall the game will have 34 vehicles compared to just 16 in the original.